This special issue of The New York Times Magazine is dedicated entirely to love in New York City over the course of a single day: Saturday, May 19, 2018. All the photography was shot on that date between 12 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. By choosing this theme and so tightly limiting the time frame, we hoped to convey the city’s magical density of intimacies, the way it juxtaposes (especially as the weather begins to warm) the private communion of one pair of lovers with the rollicking public energy of the bustling crowd — itself composed of numberless lovers communing privately amid the noise, all the center of their own universe.
Taken together, the 24 different covers of the issue, which have been distributed to subscribers and newsstands at random, capture this idea perfectly. Shot by the photographer Ryan McGinley, they represent a feat of planning and execution. First, our photo department began scouting for subjects. Some couples came through a social-media request for volunteers willing to demonstrate their passion by kissing for a photographer. Within two days we had more than 1,000 replies. The plan was to drive around and pick up couples in a truck, photographing them as the city rolled by.
We narrowed our group down to 37, and as the clock struck midnight and May 18 came to an end, McGinley started shooting. As the day went on, couple after couple climbed aboard, were harnessed in and began to kiss. As McGinley snapped away and cheers went up from onlookers on the sidewalks, the couples responded by focusing even more intently on each other, staring into each other’s eyes, holding each other’s faces, as if, in a city of millions, there were no one else. ---Jake Silverstein
ABOUT Ryan McGinley: He is a photographer who at 26 became one of the youngest artists to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. During the past decade, McGinley has focused on creating work that incorporates active nude figures into the American landscape. McGinley’s most recent exhibition, "Mirror, Mirror," will open at Team Gallery in New York on June 29, with a book published by Rizzoli. Check out the 13 additional couples photographed kissing for this issue and see them in a video directed by Ryan McGinley.